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February 2024

Roebuck Estates vineyard manager using app Sectormentor to monitor vineyard

Case study: Sectormentor becomes a vital tool for the Roebuck Estates team

Case study: Sectormentor becomes a vital tool for the Roebuck Estates team 2560 1707 Sectormentor


Case study: Sectormentor becomes a vital tool for the Roebuck Estates team

Roebuck Estates has vineyards across 6 sites in the UK. Their sites are spread across East and West Sussex and Kent so they are able to reap the rewards and benefits of each site with its different aspect, area, microclimate, soil. They have 82 blocks that they monitor individually across the 6 sites enabling them to maximise the quality of their grapes.

This also means the team move around quite a bit and Sectormentor has become a core part of how the team communicate and keep track of what’s happening at each site.

Vineyard Technician, Cassie Burch, shared more: “Sectormentor is a great tool, it’s easy, it’s there on your phone – you don’t have to write stuff down. When we sync, Jake can see what’s going on and might ask us to double check, or recount something. It’s just a great way to communicate as a team and it’s all in one place. It is recorded and it’s not like a group chat where you have to scroll through and think what was that again. It’s a really great hub of information we can all add to or get something from, so I really like using it.”

A screenshot from the Roebuck Sectormentor account at one of their sample sites, showing photos of everything from Regen Indicators, to pruning weights.

Jake Wicks, vineyard manager at Roebuck Estates, told us how it helps him:

“Sectormentor is a very powerful tool, giving visual feedback of what is actually happening at all the sites. I can glance at it quickly. Also it’s easy for me to pull stuff off of it for presentations for other teams in the business.

The strong visual aspect and all the photos work really well so I can explain what is going on in the vineyard really quickly and easily. It sounds simple, but people on the ground being able to take pictures of whatever they find in the vineyard and get that straight back to the desk is really helpful.”

Roebuck have been experimenting with what it looks like to take a more regenerative approach in their vineyards.

Their first focus has been to remove the use of herbicide on established sites. In the 2022 season they experimented with using a Clemens Multiclean, which strims undervine, at one of their sites and it worked so well that they have been using it across all their established sites this last season, meeting their goal of using no herbicide and ensuring the soil remains undisturbed.

They also had an ecologist join their team who is in the vineyard 50% of the time and then 50% focused on improving the habitat and increasing biodiversity across the land.

 Jake shared how they are looking forward to benefitting from new Reports in Sectormentor as they change approaches, alongside the many other reports Roebuck are already using:

“We are already using tools like the Yield predictor and Phenology-GDD tool.
It’s so handy that we are able to get an updated yield prediction from our lag weights in seconds, Sectormentor even helps makes it possible for us to do an early yield prediction as it’s so easy to do inflorescence counts. We can immediately compare charge counts this year with last year, learn from our pruning weights.

Going forward we are excited about the potential Sectormentor Reports have for us, the app has introduced us to the Regen Indicators which is really going to help us monitor our progress as we shift our approach.

We are also keen to do more recording of the biodiversity around our sites. It will be great to see what we do have and what we don’t have and what we can do to get what we don’t have into the vineyards.”

The Phenology-GDD graph for one of Roebuck’s blocks, showing how GDD changed day to day and cumulatively across the season and at what point each phenological stage occurred.

Jake summarised:

“At Roebuck Estates, Sectormentor helps our vineyard team monitor vines both above and below ground. We are able to gather a significant amount of data on a block-by-block basis which enables us to predict yields, monitor ripeness, understand soil health and biodiversity, and track the effectiveness of vineyard activities all year round.

As a relatively young vine-growing industry, and without hundreds of years of historical data, the information we gather on Sectormentor supplements the knowledge our vineyard team gather on a daily basis, helps fast track our understanding of our six individual sites across Sussex and aids vital decision making throughout the growing season.”

It was great to learn more about how the Roebuck Estates team use data monitoring to keep everyone in the loop, learn from patterns in the vineyard and keep track of progress.

Get in touch with us on info@vidacycle.com if you want to learn more about Sectormentor, and how it might support with your operation – we’re always happy to chat!